40 years ago, on November 21, 1979, United States Marine Corporal Steven J. Crowley, who was guarding the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was shot and killed by radical Muslim extremists (Islamists), becoming one of the first casualties of the modern Global War on Terror (GWOT).
Muslim extremist “students,” having heard a false story about the US occupation of the mosque at Mecca, Saudi Arabia, gathered weapons and then boarded buses that would take them to the embassy.
Once at the compound, the Islamists stormed the complex and then set fire to debris collected on the first floor of the main building.
CPL Crowley was shot once through the head, just above his left ear, at approximately 1:10 p.m. local time, while on duty protecting the embassy from the roof of the main building. He was taken into the building and then brought to the safe room, or vault on the second floor.
At approximately 3:25 p.m. CPL Crowley was pronounced dead in the embassy vault, after an oxygen tank that was providing his threadbare connection to life ran out.
This group of Islamist “students” was later to be funded by none other than Osama bin Laden himself.
Steven was a tall, fit, blond-haired blue-eyed, chivalrous and cordial 19 year old graduate of Comsewogue High School, in Port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York, who loved to run on the Cross Country and Spring Track Teams and who was a member of the Chess Club.
Steven Crowley Park, in Port Jefferson Station, was named for this brave neighbor of ours, and by cleaning up the park each fall we honor him and his brave and selfless service to our country. Cub Scout Pack 120 (Boy Scouts of America) has been cleaning up the park each fall at least since my 24 year old Eagle Scout son was a 6 year old Tiger Scout, 18 years ago and counting.
We tell the boys about Steven and his sacrifice to his country and to all of us.
Steven is a hero to all the nation, and his death marks one of the very first casualties in the Global War on Terror. The incident that precipitated Steven’s murder at the hands of Islamists shook the Muslim world just the day before, on November 20, 1979.
Overzealous Wahhabi’s seized the Grand Mosque at Mecca for about two weeks. Saudi Arabian commandos, with the help of French and American intelligence, eventually retook the mosque, ending the incident. But the erroneous story that the US had seized the mosque incensed hordes of Islamists throughout the Muslim world.
The incident at the US embassy in Islamabad was merely the first in a series of events that eventually led up to the attacks by Islamists on the United States on September 11, 2001, killing more Americans than died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, or died at Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Since then our enemies have mutated into the current Islamic State, but many other Islamic terrorist groups have emerged as well, each one determined to eliminate Israel, kill all infidels, and establish a worldwide caliphate.
In Steven’s memory, and for us, and for generations to come, we must fight the forces of evil that continue to harm us and our allies. Until all Islamists are dead, or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must defend ourselves by any means necessary.
Thank you, Steven for your service, loyalty and sacrifice. We shall never forget your chivalry, integrity and self-less service to this great nation.